Bill of Materials

The Bill of Materials for the Plane/Sailing project is shown on this page. I have updated the costs as of July 2021.

For the basic build:

Part Purchase Link Quantity Cost (GBP)/ea Cost (GBP)
Diamond X-50 Antenna Nevada Radio 1 59.95 59.95
Pimoroni ADS-B Antenna Pimoroni 1 24.90 24.90
Pimoroni 8m N-type to SMA Cable Pimoroni 2 10.50 21.00
SMA Cable Splitter Amazon 1 7.49 7.49
FlightAware Pro Stick Plus Pimoroni 1 19.92 19.92
RTL-SDR v3 Dongle Technofix 2 30.99 61.98
Raspberry Pi 4 Model B 2GB The Pi Hut 1 33.90 33.90
Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply The Pi Hut 1 7.50 7.50
MicroSD Card Amazon 1 5.69 5.69
USB Mini Hub The Pi Hut 1 4.30 4.30
Ethernet Cable Amazon 1 4.37 4.37
      TOTAL 251.00

If you’re recreating the build for yourself, you have some options:

  1. A lot of the cost here is in SDR dongles, so for example if you were only interested in AIS and ADS-B, not APRS, you could save at least £30 by skipping one RTL-SDR and the cable splitter.
  2. The antennas aren’t cheap either, if you’re not sure how much you want to invest in the project you can get an RTL-SDR kit that comes with its own telescopic antennas. That might be enough for some decent aircraft tracking performance so long as you can get it high up and ideally without a roof in the way.
  3. I use Ethernet to connect the Pi to my home network. If you prefer you could use a USB WiFi dongle, or the WiFi connectivity that is built into the RPi 4.

For the electronics enclosure, to take it from a messy desk setup to a nice self-contained unit:

Part Purchase Link Quantity Cost (GBP)/ea Cost (GBP)
50mm high Eurocard Enclosure CPC 1 22.50 22.50
USB C Panel Mount Connector Amazon 1 14.48 14.48
RJ45 Panel Mount Connector Amazon 1 5.83 5.83
Raspberry Pi 4 Heat Sink Case Amazon 1 12.99 12.99
USB C Right-Angle Adapter Amazon 1 6.99 6.99
Ethernet Cable Amazon 1 2.99 2.99
Cable Ties & Adhesive Mounts Amazon 1 5.99 5.99
Thermal Adhesive Tape Amazon 1 10.99 10.99
      TOTAL 82.76

Again if you are recreating this, you have plenty of cost saving options:

  1. As discussed in on the electronics enclosure page, the chosen enclosure is not that big and very fiddly due to the lack of a removable lid. You may want to investigate different enclosure options and find one that works better for you.
  2. If you’re not using wired ethernet you can skip the RJ45 panel mount connector and cable. WiFi may be bad inside the metal box, but you can use the spare USB-A socket on the USB panel mount connector to bring a WiFi dongle to the outside of the box.
  3. The cable ties and thermal tape are massive quantities compared to what’s needed, but they are the most cost-effective ways I found to buy them. If you’re in the UK I will happily post you some as I now have a lifetime’s supply!


Thanks for your interesting documents ! I’m interested to built a double system (ais and ads-b) by 2 rtl-sdr on one Raspberry Pi4; In this case can you help me to find the software and / or documents how to write in the Raspberry ? thanks in advance, Fabrizio from Italy In the web I find many many docs but only for one use.

Hi Fabrizio,

As I’m sure you’ve discovered, my build uses two different Raspberry Pis, both of which use pre-configured disk images, whereas you will need to do both from a single Pi. Out of the two, ADS-B is the most difficult to set up the software for, and also the best supported by pre-configured disk images such as PiAware.

Therefore I would recommend starting with a PiAware installation, and get that up and running first. Once you have that working, you can install rtl_ais and aisdispatcher (ARM glibc version). rtl_ais doesn’t come as a compiled binary, only as source, but there are some instructions here - scroll down to “4. RTL-AIS Software”.

If you get stuck let me know and I can probably help out. I can also give you the binary files for rtl_ais and aisdispatcher from my Pi which should hopefully still work on a Pi 4.

Fabrizio, I’m not sure if you’re still checking this site but you might like to know that I am now essentially copying what you’re doing - I am upgrading Plane/Sailing to run on a single Raspberry Pi 4. I will be updating the build guides in the next few weeks to reflect the build process, so if you didn’t manage to figure it out, I should have a better guide for you shortly!

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